Psychological Services Group

Psychological Assistance and Counselling - Bariatric Patient Support and Assessment

Ms Kim WillcoxMPsych(Clinical), MAPS

Kim is a compassionate and client-centred therapist who focuses on creating a safe and non-judgemental environment in which clients feel safe to explore their concerns. She uses evidence-based approaches such as cognitive behavioural therapy as well as supportive counselling to assist clients across a range of issues including: depression, general and social anxiety, anger management, post-traumatic stress, body image concerns, bariatric psychology, interpersonal difficulties, self-esteem, stress, relationship and personal difficulties, life changes, grief and loss.

We interviewed Kim to find out more:

How do you describe your main therapeutic approach and/or what modalities do you use in therapy? My main approach is to focus on the client and understanding their specific experiences and challenges. While many clients experience common mental health concerns such as depression or anxiety, everyone’s personal experience and circumstances are different, and I prefer to avoid ‘one size fits all’ approaches. I use evidence-based therapies including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, mindfulness, self-compassion approaches, acceptance and commitment therapy, interpersonal therapy, supportive counselling and play therapy.

Regarding the above, who might benefit from this approach? Anyone who is experiencing difficulties such as anxiety, low mood, anger, stress, loneliness, sadness, lack of confidence or relationship difficulties can benefit from psychological support.

What are some of the more specific and specialised presenting problems that you work with? In addition to depression and anxiety, I work a lot with clients, often men, who are finding it hard to manage irritability and anger, as well as clients with body image issues. I also work with clients who are adjusting to psychological and emotional changes after surgical weight-loss eg Lap-Band surgery. I also have an interest in working with clients from diverse cultural backgrounds, in particular trying to ensure treatment is sensitive to clients' cultural values, practices and perspectives.

What are some of your more general skills, life-experiences, or practise settings that have contributed to your development as a psychologist and how do these assist you in helping others? Before becoming a psychologist, I had a career in the corporate world which gave me first-hand experience of the types of challenges people experience in the workplace, and in trying to balance the competing demands of work and personal life. Working in a psychiatric hospital also helped me understand the challenges experienced by people living with more severe mental health issues – and their families - and the types of support these clients require.

Finally, what is important about obtaining/engaging in psychological services? Or in other words, what you could say to prospective clients pondering counselling...? I would say that psychologists understand people can feel nervous and hesitant at the thought of going to counselling, and we have a strong focus on helping make sure you feel safe. We’re here to support, not judge. Our clients often feel relief after talking things over in a confidential space, and more hopeful about the future after taking the first step towards addressing their difficulties.